by Jake Fish
US Youth Sailing Championships are being held from 15th to 18th August 2012. Four fleets set sail on the Columbia River Gorge for the opening day yesterday which was highlighted by close competition at the top of the leaderboards in high wind speeds surpassing 15 mph.
US Sailing Youth Championship logo
The 33 boat Club 420 division was the first fleet to start today. Max Simmons (Rowayton, Conn.) and Riley Legault (Bonita Springs, Fla.) came flying out of the gates, winning the first and third races, and placing second in race two. This team finished second by one point at the C420 North Americans in July. They have an eight point lead over Bradley Adam (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Charles MacBain (Portsmouth, R.I.), the current North American Champions.
In the 29er division, Scott Buckstaff (Belvedere, Calif.) and James Moody (Tiburon, Calif.) opened the regatta with a bang by winning all three races today. The duo competed on the Gorge last weekend at the 29er North Americans, where they finished eighth out of 34 teams. Moody is no stranger to success in the 29er fleet, having finished third at the ISAF Youth Worlds in 2010. In 2010, Moody was sailing alongside Antoine Screve (Ross, Calif.), who is currently seven points behind the leaders in second place. Screve is sailing with with Mac Agnese (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) this week.
Greg Martinez (Houston, Texas) stole the show in the Laser Fleet. Martinez was one of two sailors in the 15 boat fleet to finish with three top five finishes, and came away with back to back wins in the first two races. This has been a solid year for this rising star, winning the Orange Bowl Youth Regatta and a tenth place finish at the Laser North Americans in July. He will start tomorrow with a three-point lead over Ian Ikeda (Duxbury, Mass.).
Mitchell Kiss (Holland, Mich.) had two bullets and a second place finish to take an early lead over Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), the defending champion and two-time ILCA Youth World Champion. Kiss continues his worldwide tour this summer by coming back to the US after winning a bronze medal at the ILCA Worlds in Australia, and finishing fourth at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Ireland.
US Sailing’s U.S. Youth Sailing Championships is sponsored by Sperry Top-Sider, Zim Sailing, Gill North America and SWITLIK Survival Products. The championship is a Sailors for the Sea - Clean Regattas certification event.
US Sailing website